Yeowomen Ready for Conference Tournament

Sarena Malsin

After a strenuous first half, the women’s basketball team achieved a satisfying 58–45 victory against Hiram College on Saturday afternoon.

“Both teams started out slow,” said sophomore Katie Lucaites, “But by the second half we were definitely capitalizing on Hiram’s sluggishness.”

The Yeowomen were trailing by one point at halftime, the score left at 24–23 in Hiram’s favor. Oberlin soon found a comfortable lead of 38–47, further extended by 11 points after two consecutive free throws by senior Lillian Jahan.

“We were able to keep the game close enough so it didn’t get away from us,” said junior Christina Marquette, who finished with 12 points. Other major scorers were senior Malisa Hoak with 10 points and sophomore Lindsey Bernhardt with an impressive 19-point contribution — the result of five 3-pointers throughout the game.

“Motivation can be a problem this late in the season, but I’m proud of them for pulling out a much- needed victory,” said Head Coach Kerry Jenkins said. Saturday’s win broke a nine-game losing streak.

This mid-season struggle could be attributed to the “injury bug,” as Jenkins described it, which significantly cut down the team’s numbers. With three players lost to season-ending injuries, two of them starters, the squad was left with only eight active players, Lucaites explained.

“We oftentimes go up against teams with 12 to 15 players, so we have to play without rest just because we don’t have that many,” Lucaites said.

The team worked hard to overcome this adversity, though. “The most difficult challenge is that [multiple injuries] change the way you practice,” Jenkins said. “You have to be creative and condition more. It’s an uphill battle.” The conditioning seems to have paid off, as the Yeowomen’s win on Saturday came at the end of an unusually busy three-game week.

Lucaites, who tore her ACL in early January, spoke to the unifying nature that the huge number of injuries presented to the team. “We have created such a great network of support off the court, and I think that leads to better team chemistry on the court,” she said.

However, the team’s strong 5–4 start early in the season has left them with a solidified place in this season’s North Coast Athletic Conference tournament. One of these first winter wins was against Kenyon College, the team who knocked the Yeowomen out of the conference tournament last year.

Hoak said he is anticipating a strong end to the season. “I’m looking forward to seeing what we’re capable of when we all play our best.”

The Yeowomen honored their seniors Hoak, Jahan and Allison Gannon Wednesday night before their game against the visiting Ohio Wesleyan University.

With one regular season game left, the Yeowomen’s spirits are high.

“Our record doesn’t reflect it, but we’ve had a good year,” said Marquette. “We’ve been playing with really good teams,” said Marquette.

Even with their midseason lull, the team is closing in on 10 wins this season, a record women’s basketball has not reached in years. The team currently has nine wins.

The team’s competitive attitude will stay with them until the season comes to an end.“We’re looking to win. We’re not going to just roll over and die for any team,” said Marquette.